The Academy Awards are almost here! Not to brag, but I have pretty much dominated in my quest to see most of the nominees this year. I EVEN WATCHED THE LIVE ACTIONS SHORTS!!!!! I didn’t make it through all the documentaries (okay, I only watched The Invisible War), the foreign films (I tried…thanks, Omaha art film scene), and as usual, I missed most of the animated features and shorts (side note: Wreck-it Ralph is actually super cute. If you are babysitting in the near future, I highly recommend it). Other than that, I feel like I have my best grasp to date on the body of work that will be represented tomorrow night, and I have to say, 2012/2013 was an AWESOME year for movies. I really enjoyed working my way through the nominee list, and I don’t feel like there were many egregious snubs either. And can I just say…how lovely to watch so many films that uplifted and inspired instead of depressed and made you want to slit your wrists when you were done…and that also featured actors besides Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep.
So here’s my very brief recap of predictions for the major categories…if you really care to see ALL my predictions, my official ballot is on Facebook. Yes, I am that nerdy, so let’s all just deal.
Best Picture: Argo
One of the first Best Picture nominees to be released last year, Argo has enjoyed a renewed surge in support and popularity in the last couple of months, presumably due in part to Ben Affleck being snubbed in the Best Director category. More to the point, the flawless handling of historical subject matter (the Iran hostage crisis), the excellent pacing, and the heart-pounding conclusion of this movie will all help it win. I also loved that Argo isn’t carried by any one actor’s performance, but succeeds brilliantly as a whole.
Actor in a Leading Role: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Poor Bradley Cooper. Poor Hugh Jackman. They really picked the wrong year to give what may be their best performances to date, because…well. It’s Daniel Day-Lewis. Playing the most beloved president in our nation’s history. In a Spielberg film. If anyone else wins, it will literally be shocking. That being said, I do wish that Cooper and Jackman had a chance, because both are more than deserving for their roles in Silver Linings Playbook and Les Miserables. But Day-Lewis will walk away with his third Best Actor Oscar tomorrow night, and rightfully so. No one else will touch the role of Abraham Lincoln for the foreseeable cinematic future.
I almost just typed “Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone,” a subconscious indication, no doubt, that I feel she has been deserving of an Academy Award ever since that breakout role in 2010. Seriously, guys. I LOVE Jennifer Lawrence. I love the roles she chooses (exception: House at the End of the Street. What was THAT). I love that she defies the Hollywood body-image insanity. I love that she did not ruin Katniss. I love that she makes kind of awkward and inappropriate comments during awards speeches (“I beat Meryl!”). And I think the Academy also loves her enough to give her Best Actress for her role as Tiffany, the slightly crazy young widow without a social filter in Silver Linings Playbook. It’s possible that the 86-year-old Emmanuelle Riva will upset for her role as a dying music teacher in Amour, but I think Lawrence is a pretty safe bet.
Actor in a Supporting Role: Christopher Waltz, Django Unchained
Every actor in this category has won an Oscar before, so it’s difficult to say. I would love to see Robert DeNiro win for his role as Bradley Cooper’s remorseful father in Silver Linings Playbook, but I suspect it will go to Christopher Waltz. IMO, he really deserved to be nominated for Best Actor, since he shared almost all of Jamie Foxx’s screen time and delivered the much stronger performance of the two.
I consider it personal growth on my part that I am much less begrudging about admitting this than I would have been a year or so ago. I’m just not the world’s biggest Anne Hathaway fan, and as I mentioned in a previous post, I resent the fact that losing half your body weight and chopping off your hair for a movie role often fast-tracks you to a Best Actress nomination. Oh, and I am also a music snob and was therefore extremely skeptical that Hathaway would be able to bring anything new or fresh to the MOST FAMOUS MUSICAL THEATER NUMBER OF ALL TIME. Well…miracles do happen. Though they are overused descriptors, fearless and transparent are the two words that come to mind when I think about her performance as Fantine. Was her vocal technique great? Not hardly. And yet, agreeing to a live, uninterrupted, close-up shot for “I Dreamed a Dream” was very brave, and displayed even more vulnerability than Helen Hunt portraying a sex surrogate helping a crippled man lose his virginity in The Sessions (also nominated). She had under 20 minutes of screen time in Les Miserables, but Hathaway deserves the win and should get it.
Best Director: Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
Best Foreign Film: Amour
Best Cinematography: Life of Pi
Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay): Argo
Best Writing (Original Screenplay): Zero Dark Thirty
See you all on the red carpet!!